Wesson’s Hinton ready to bark for MSU

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 26, 2006

WESSON — Leland Hinton’s love for mascots is taking him to thebig time this fall. Hinton, who was the Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege Wolf mascot the last two years, is one of two newMississippi State University mascots, better known as Bully. Hintonand the other Bully are the only two full-time mascots with $500scholarships.

Hinton also served at the Wesson Cobra mascot his sophomore tosenior years in high school. He has a lot of experience.

“I have been looking forward to it,” said Hinton. “I figure Iwould try out one more time. I have been a MSU fan all my life. Iwas going to attend MSU anyway.”

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Hinton, the son of Lee and Mary Hinton, will perform at allfootball games and home basketball games, including appearances atalumni events, university functions and outside scheduled eventssuch as birthday parties.

“Since I was a mascot at Wesson and Co-Lin, I thought I wouldtry out,” said the 20-year-old Hinton. “I have already done acouple of appearances,” as Bully.

Bully mascots also compete in the National mascotcompetition.

Hinton had to compete against several other athletes to prove hewas right to be a Bully.

“I had a minute and a half skit to do,” explained Hinton. Hemade up an audio from skits (like Saturday Night Live) and mixedthem with music. “I acted it out. It was kind of like a play. Iemphasized the Ole Miss and LSU rivalry stuff.”

Hinton had to pass a physical which was no problem. Because ofall the time he has spent in both suits, he has a strong tolerancefor the high temperatures and heat inside the outfit.

The Bulldog and Wolf suits are both hot and heavy, according toHinton. The Bully outfit is the lighter of the two.

“A lot of people would pass out in these suits,” stated Hinton.”My body is adapted to it.” He carries a cooler with Gatorade andwater to stay refreshed during breaks at the games.

Hinton is majoring in international business with an emphasis infinance at MSU. He finished with a 3.42 GPA at Co-Lin.

Hinton also played on the Co-Lin golf team his freshman year andwas a member of the PBL He still likes to play golf in his freetime.

At Wesson, Hinton became the Cobra mascot in the 10th grade. Itwas the third game of the football season when he was asked tobecome the Cobra.

“I was in Spanish class and Mrs. Susan Huckaby (cheerleadersponsor) needed a mascot to replace the one who had to drop out,”said Hinton. “I’ve been doing it since then.”

Co-Lin’s cheerleader sponsor, Twyana Britt Morse, knew Hintonand how good he was, when he auditioned to be the Wolf.

“I inherited the job,” said Hinton. “I was going to try out. Iwas the only one that showed up at tryouts. She (Morse) had seen meand knew I could do it.

“I have learned new things every time I put on the suit.”

Hinton credits his experience as the Cobra and Wolf mascot tohelping become Bully at MSU.

“I would not have gotten Bully if I hadn’t gone to Co-Lin,”stated Hinton. “We went to (cheerleading) camps in Alabama andlearned a lot. I learned how to do skits.”

Hinton will get to see some of his Co-Lin cheerleadingacquaintances this month when he and the MSU cheerleaders attendcamp in Alabama.

” I will be there again, with MSU this time, and Co-Lin will bethere, too,” added Hinton.

Hinton is happy to be a part of the MSU’s Bully tradition.

“I am living a dream,” said Hinton, “just to be part of thattradition.”

Recently, Hinton was appearing as Bully at an MSU function andhad his picture taken with a little girl. The girl’s mother wasredesigning her room with MSU material. Their picture isincluded.

Hinton has a lot of fond memories of being the Wolf atCo-Lin.

“It’s something I will never forget,” added Hinton. “It made mytime at Co-Lin more enjoyable. I enjoyed cheering them on andplaying with the kids.”

Mascots are also very popular with young children. Hinton got alot of attention as the Wolf and he enjoyed it. He knows theattention will increase when he puts on the Bully outfit atStarkville.

“You have to be good with the kids,” added Hinton.